5 Reasons You’ll Love Ramp It Up

By: Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library
By: Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library

This article is posted is posted in partnership with the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library.

The Alice C. Sabatini Gallery inside the library rolls in an awesome exhibit June 28. Opening Reception from 11:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. that night will rock! DJ Fraktul will be spinnin’ the best beats for fans of skateboarding or just the curious. Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America is sure to impress and perhaps educate folks about the diversity of not only our community but also skateboarding culture.

Some people you’ll meet through photos, video and other artwork include the 4-Wheel Warpony skate crew, artist and activist Bunky Echo-Hawk (who will be here Aug. 9), Bryant Chapo and Lee Nash, among many others for whom skateboarding is a way of life. Catch a glimpse of ‘em in photos below, then come to see the exhibit.

Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America is organized by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.

1.) 4-Wheel Warpony skateboarders, 2008

From left to right, White Mountain Apache skaters Armonyo Hume, Jess Michael Smith, Aloysius Henry, Ronnie Altaha and Lee Nash. The skate team was founded by award-winning filmmaker Dustinn Craig (White Mountain Apache/Navajo), who got his start making skateboarding videos in Arizona. Courtesy Dustinn Craig (White Mountain Apache/Navajo)

2.) Bryant Chapo (Navajo), Minneapolis, Minn., 2007

Discovered by a local skateboard shop in his hometown of Fort Hall, Idaho, Bryant Chapo’s win at a 2006 Utah skateboarding competition brought him to national attention and his first major sponsor. Chapo trains and skates full-time and makes it a point to participate in as many Native skateboarding competitions as he can. Here he performs a varial heel flip. Courtesy Brandon Flyg

3.) Lee Nash (White Mountain Apache) of the 4-Wheel Warpony skate crew, 2008

4-Wheel Warpony skater Lee Nash tucks a skate deck into his belt. The skate team was founded by award-winning filmmaker Dustinn Craig (White Mountain Apache/Navajo), who got his start making skateboarding videos in Arizona. Courtesy Dustinn Craig (White Mountain Apache/Navajo)

4.) Z-Boy Jay Adams executes a Bert slide on Bicknell Hill, Santa Monica, Calif., 1975

A group of skaters and surfers in 1970’s Santa Monica, the Dogtown Z-Boys ushered in a new era of aggressive, aerial-maneuver based skating. Emulating the surfing style of Native Hawaiian surfer Larry Bertlemann, the Z-Boys coined the term “Bert slide” for their low, crouching skateboard stance as they sliced down hills and around turns. Courtesy C.R. Stecyk III

5.) Bunky Echo-Hawk (Yakama/Pawnee), 2009

Contemporary artist and activist Bunky Echo Hawk holds three of the skate decks he designed for Native Skates. Native Skates has given many contemporary Native artists an opportunity to distribute their artwork outside the traditional network of galleries and art fairs. Founder Todd Harder believes all people should be able to own art by Native people—even if it comes on the bottom of a skate deck. Courtesy David Bernie


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